Trim the horns of Microsoft’s snoopy monster (Windows 10)
Are you running Windows 10? Are you paranoid? Afraid Microsoft is going to gather up too much info on you and then use it against you when your data becomes reincarnated as The Ghost of Your Privacy Future?
Are you just concerned that maybe Microsoft’s altruism – giving away Microsoft Windows 10 free – wasn’t altruism at all, but a really great way to gather up data on millions of user share – read “sell” – it to “partners”. Microsoft vows it will only use the information it gathers to improve Windows and troubleshoot – and the information it passes along to “trusted” partners is only so they can make their products better.
As owners of a small business we can tell you nothing makes products better than a good steady supply of money. We all know information is power, and information is money. Is Microsoft really giving away Windows as a ploy to make more money by collecting data that it could have ever made by selling Windows 10? If so, the wouldn’t be the first. Can you spell A P P L E? Can you spell G O O G L E? Both of these companies have been giving away operating systems for free – however the are both well-known data gatherers.
We don’t know what Microsoft is up to, but we are going to show you how to boost your privacy a little bit.
But first, lets see what Microsoft has to say about its Feedback and Diagnostics (in Settings):
What do the different Diagnostic and usage data options mean?
As you use Windows, we collect performance and usage information that helps us identify and troubleshoot problems as well as improve our products and services. We recommend that you select Full for this setting.
Basic information is data that is vital to the operation of Windows. This data helps keep Windows and apps running properly by letting Microsoft know the capabilities of your device, what is installed, and whether Windows is operating correctly. This option also turns on basic error reporting back to Microsoft. If you select this option, we’ll be able to provide updates to Windows (through Windows Update, including malicious software protection by the Malicious Software Removal Tool).
Enhanced data includes all Basic data plus data about how you use Windows, such as how frequently or how long you use certain features or apps and which apps you use most often. This option also lets us collect enhanced diagnostic information, such as the memory state of your device when a system or app crash occurs, which may unintentionally include parts of a document you were working on when a problem occurred. We also use this information to measure reliability of devices, the operating system, and apps. If you select this option, we’ll be able to provide you with an enhanced and personalized Windows experience.
Full data includes all Basic and Enhanced data, and also turns on advanced diagnostic features that collect additional data from your device, which helps us further troubleshoot and fix problems. When devices experience problems that are difficult to diagnose or replicate with Microsoft’s internal testing, Microsoft will randomly select a small number of devices, from those opted into this level and exhibiting the problem, from which to gather all of the data needed to diagnose and fix the problem (including user content that may have triggered the issue). If an error report contains personal data, we won’t use that information to identify, contact, or target advertising to you. This is the recommended option for the best Windows experience and the most effective troubleshooting.
Who sees the diagnostic and usage information that’s collected through feedback and diagnostics?
As we describe in the Microsoft Privacy Statement, we share personal data, among Microsoft-controlled affiliates and subsidiaries. We limit internally the number and role of employees who may access this data and regularly review employee permissions to access such data. We also share this data with vendors or agents working on our behalf for the purposes described in the Microsoft Privacy Statement. In such cases, these companies must abide by our data privacy and security requirements and are not allowed to use personal data they receive from us for any other purpose. We also provide limited portions of error report information to partners (such as OEMs) to help them troubleshoot products and services which work with Windows and other Microsoft product and services. They are only permitted to use this information to repair or improve those products and services.
OK now, if you want to amp up your privacy settings, open Settings ( Windows Key – i or click the start button and click Settings). Click on “Privacy”, scroll down to “FEEDBACK & DIAGNOSTICS” and do this:
Under “Windows should ask for my feedback” – change the setting to “Never”
Under “Diagnostic and usage data” — change the setting to “Basic”.
Keep in mind there are other privacy settings as well, and we’ve covered many of them before. Today’s tip won’t lock up all the privacy doors, but it will trim the snooping monster’s horns a bit.
PS: You can powder up the horn trimmings and use the powder to make a potion. Then you can cast a spell on EB so she’s not so mean to me.
PPS: Don’t get us wrong, we both love Windows 10 and think it’s the best Windows since Windows XP…we just want to point out some privacy enhancements you can make.